Jump to content

Constant red cherry shrimp deaths


Recommended Posts

Hi, I've kept Red cherry shrimp for at least 3 years. I've never had a problem with them. I used to keep my shrimp in 500l tank but i got careless while buying plants and introduced planaria into my aquarium. I only noticed after the numbers got out of hand and i noticed the shrimp deaths adding up. I moved 200-300 shrimp into a standard 4ft tank planted aquarium and dosed with noplanaria along with melafix to ward off any bacterial infections. There were multiple dozens of shrimp shells all over after being moved. Initially i believed it may have been the planaria/bacterial/constant water changes/stress of new environment(i drip acclimated them for a 5 hours) that was killing them but i haven't changed the water in a 2 months but i still get the occasional death, 1 or 2 every few days. There are decent amounts of cuttlebone in the filter and also in the aquarium itself, and i also feed them the occasional powdered egg shells but i still get molting problems. Adults and also the month olds are dying, no discrimination. They're fed every other day shrimp snow, high protein discus granules and zucchini/pumpkin/spinach/dry seaweed every 3-4 days. I can see many berried females and small shrimp and also babies but i'm still losing shrimp constantly, easily 80+ in total. I don't want to buy a gh/kh test, they have never had any problems with molting in their last aquarium so can't quite understand why they're having problems now in the 150l. I've read so much online but i can't seem to find an answer, i'd sincerely appreciate any advice i can get. Thank you so much if you've managed to read all of this. Please feel free to ask any questions. The photo is from the current setup they're in.

Previous tank parameters:

Ammonia: 0 

nitrite: 0 

nitrates: 20ppm

Ph: 8

substrate: sand 

Lighting: generic LED lights i got off ebay

I don't know any other parameters.  cuttlebone in the tank and filter, no ferts, heavily infested with guppy grass. Large colony of bristlenose. 

New tank parameters:

ammonia: 0

Nitrite: 0


co2: 3-4 bps 

Ph: 6.5

Lighting: generic LED lights i got off ebay

substrate: ada aquasoil

The new tank is heavily planted and dosed with root tabs and liquid ferts. Cuttlebone in the tank and filter. 6 large pieces of seiryu stone 17kg (i doubt they're authentic so they're some kind of limestone) Shrimp only tank


shrimp tank.png

Edited by bristlenose
forgot few details
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What a stunning tank, looks a dream.

The change from sand to soil obviously has lowered the PH but I would have thought Cherry shrimps are adaptable enough to survive in PH of 6.5 without a problem once they have adapted to the new water environment. Shrimps only live 1.5 to 2 years so you will get some deaths with the hundreds you have and as long as you are getting lots of babies (sounds like you are) I wouldn't worry too much, the babies anyway will be born in the different new water so should do better anyway has been my experience? You have changed a lot from one set up to the new one so it will be difficult for the shrimps to adapt to it all!

From what I have read, and a previous members thread/experience here I think it is better to do away with CO2 if you can as it is great for plants but less so for shrimps, though you have obviously gone to a lot of trouble with the planting of the new tank so that may be a step too far for you to take? Also some plant fertilisers aren't shrimp safe?

Changing water does usually trigger a moult so moving the shrimps does tend to bring a moult on! 

You should probably get a GH and KH test kit and a TDS meter/pen. They aren't all that expensive but how else do you know where you are with the parameters. The soil will be altering/lowering the PH, GH and KH as it usually alters the water to the softer Bee shrimp ideal parameters? Even the strip testers will at least give you a rough idea, which is better than no idea?

I have cherry shrimps in my betta tank with soil and use tap water with a PH7.5 and now the soil has stopped lowering/buffering the PH. I use KH+ elixir and GH+ to get the GH and KH in line with the shrimps (and betta) recommended parameters and all has gone REALLY well so far! The plants are also very lush and green, and grow well without any ferts or CO2.

I hope something of this may be of some help and you start seeing less dead shrimps. I am sure someone here with a lot more experience may be able to help as well.


ps I used SL Aqua Z1 on my hydra (also supposed to kill planaria) and that had no negative affect on plants/snails/shrimp/fish but did wipe out the hydra with just one dose!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you so much for your reply Simon, I definitely wouldn't be so worried since i'm still getting baby shrimp but the issue is that even the month old ones are occasionally dying so that means even though they were born in this tank they're still not adapting. This tank wasn't initially setup for them, but for my breeding tetras so i'm definitely a little torn about removing the co2 but i might have to consider it. Maybe i should progressively crank the co2 up every morning instead of 3-4 bps right from the beginning to minimize the water parameter shifts. I'd love to hear someones thoughts about the effectiveness of that. 

I've always been against buying test kits ever since i bought the ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/ph test kits years back and they are still sitting around collecting dust, but in this case i really might have to, it definitely stings when its painted red cherry shrimp/ fire reds that are dying. ? But you're right, a gh/kh test kit would give me some much needed information. 

I'm certain i can attribute a part of the shrimp deaths with the constant water changes from removing the noplanaria and melafix from the water since it'll probably cause some forced molts before they were ready but water parameters are relatively stable currently with no large water changes and i'm still getting deaths. 

Could it be possible low ph and co2 changes the availability of calcium in the water column? 

My other concern was that the ferts are affecting them, but you'd think that seachem flourish would be shrimp safe and i'm only adding extra K, iron and calcium(via egg shells and cuttlebone) into the water and while i'm not a chemistry expert i can't seem to believe that it would cause them serious discomfort at moderate amounts.

I've definitely stopped seeing as many shrimp deaths considering at the beginning it was 4-10 a day (R.I.P) to only 1 every other day but the problem still persists.  


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have looked at the Seachem Flourish and that is supposed to be shrimp safe!

We had a member who was using CO2 and getting some deaths and as soon as she stopped using CO2 all was fine from then on. Can you try not using CO2 for a few days maybe or do you think that some of your beautiful plants MUST have it - I would try that if it were mine?

Anything else would be too much of a guess at this stage so I would get the testers as you are setting up a new tank in a new format/layout? The soil does reduce GH which is Magnesium and Calcium (I believe) so as you say, maybe there isn't sufficient because you are using the soil? I understand the reasoning for not wanting to get lots of test kits as I don't bother to test my oldest tank (tetras and cherry shrimp been running ok for years) at all now, I just use the tests for newer tanks and the more sensitive bee shrimps. The PH pens and drop Gh and Kh are cheap enough though and probably a must for new tanks.

You may need to get some GH/KH+ as you are using soil substrate (as I do with betta/cherry shrimp tank) but you should wait until you have test kits first?

I don't think the PH of 6.5 would be a problem (if it is stable and the CO2 isn't causing PH swings??) as the betta tank started at 6 and mine were fine even though I dumped them straight in there literally (they were supposed to be culls) from PH 7.5 old tank and have flourished.

I am pleased to hear the number of deaths has dropped, so it is at least going in the right direction. May be someone else may have some ideas?


Link to comment
Share on other sites

I found this on the web and found it interesting about CO2 and shrimps, although I didn't personally understand a lot of it (way over my head) but it may be worth reading!


The only previous time I have heard of a problem with CO2 and ferts was admittedly someone (on here) with a MUCH smaller tank than yours. I had heard that plants grow quicker with the CO2, but isn't that what you don't want (?), slower growth reduces maintenance/trimming etc so it will look the same longer? I don't use CO2 but my plants grow ridiculously fast still, and I don't use ferts either - Fish and shrimp waste is the only ferts? It does state that you need to balance everything with the water parameters and as you haven't got any tester kits that could be a problem I imagine?

Anyway, hope this link helps or is at least of some interest. I would still try not using the CO2 and just see how it goes (one day at a time), you can always start again if you leave it in place but just don't switch it on? 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks alot for your help Simon, however I've moved most of the shrimp out of the planted co2 tank into a 50l for now. I did lose a few from the transition but lets see how they do back in ph 8 water. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope it goes well and you may loose a few more shrimps in the first week or two as they adjust back to the old tank water parameters. In the long term though, it was working in that tank before so it should settle quite quickly and it isn't newly set up so I wouldn't expect there to be too much of a problem. Once all is settled they will soon reproduce to the numbers you had before!

Being so densely planted there will still be some shrimps in the new tank as well ?

Have you put the breeding zebra tetras into the new tank now as originally planned? 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Similar Content

    • Shrimpfan111
      By Shrimpfan111
      Hello everyone, i need help, i have never kept shrimp before, but i wish to keep amano shrimp and a couple of aquatic snails, i need it to be amano shrimp because i don’t want them to breed until i become more experienced
      the question i’m asking is if anyone knows how to tell the difference between amano shrimp and whisker shrimp, i’ve heard horror stories of people getting the former or the latter when they wanted the opposite from uneducated petshop owners, and i have been told whisker shrimp are very aggressive, and i fear that if i ended up with any on accident that it would end badly for my other shrimp and my snails
    • ferret-confirmed
      By ferret-confirmed
      Re-posting here from The Shrimp Spot forum as I need help.
      Help, 40 litre tank has a ich (ichthyophtyirius multifiliis) / white spot outbreak.
      We've been able to separate the few surviving neon tetra into an emergency quarantine tank, with appropriate medicine for the fish. We had done this as we had noticed the issue practically too late as we miss identified the white spots as cotton mouth (which the tetra also have). We luckily quarantined the fish from the tank as  the ich reached its second stage as most have matured and abandoned the fish. This has become an issue as even if the neon tetra do not survive the treatment, I cannot re-add them to the tank and I don't want to keep the tank's environment full of parasites.
      Thankfully ich seem to not be able to effect the shrimp but the medicine we have for them is toxic to the shrimp and the plants in the tank, hence the separating of the neon tetra. I was wondering if there was anything I can do to the tank while the shrimp are still in the tank, as removing them isn't a viable option. We've been trying to get the temp of the tank to 30C and leaving it at that temp for an hour, however the tank's heater is verry slow and doesn't seem to be going up past 27C. From what I've searched 30C should kill of the ich without irritating the bloody mary shrimp too much (too many websites vary their recommended temp, so I wouldn't keep it above 28C long if we were able to get it that high) If anyone knows if there are any ich treatments or methods of killing ich that are safe for invertebrates and potentially plants I would love if they could suggest one.
    • Shrimps&Frogs
      By Shrimps&Frogs
      TL;DR - I had a shrimp become paralysed and die with no obvious red flags and stable water parameters. I found about 10 hydra and would like to know if I can treat with LCA Planaria Fix without harming my shrimp, particularly my berried shrimp and new shrimplets.
      Hi everyone,
      First, let me say thanks to everyone for all the info on this site, especially Jayc and sdITBfanUK for your many years of patient advice, you've already helped me more than you know!
      I am a new blue cherry shrimp keeper and everything had been going pretty great for me shrimp-wise. I have a 41L/9 imperial Gallon tank which I cycled/matured for about 6 weeks before adding shrimp (the tank cycled in 2 weeks, but I left it a bit longer). I then got 11 blue cherry shrimp 7 weeks ago and as I said, everything had been going pretty well. 5 of my females matured and berried with what looks like a lot of eggs, and the shrimp always seemed happy and normal. 
      About 1.5 weeks ago I found 1 dead male shrimp which looked almost stuck in the substrate at the back of my tank. It had turned white/pinkish by the time I found it and I have no idea how long it took for me to find. I wrote it off as everything else seemed fine. Then 2 days ago I saw what looked to be Scutariella on a few of my shrimp, including 2 of the pregnant ones. There was 1-3 little white things sticking up from their noses that seemed to move independently. So I salt dipped the affected shrimp, which cleared the obvious white things and the shrimp all seemed normal. Then yesterday I found a shed with some eggs still attached to it. I believe they were from my first female to become berried due to their colour, she had been berried for about 4 weeks. I thought that it may be from the salt dip. 
      Things got worse that evening when I found one of my shrimp upside down, apparently dead. I went to get it out of the tank and it attempted to swim around before falling back to the substrate. It looked as though its body was paralysed, but its extremities could still move. It otherwise appeared fine, and had nothing obviously wrong with it. I put it in a small container with clean, prime-treated water as I had read of some people having a similar thing happen due to either toxicity or lack of oxygen. I also topped up the tank and threw in a small sponge filter to increase aeration in case (I don't think it was that as all the other shrimp and snails were acting normally). The afflicted shrimp's movements decreased until I thought it was dead, then about 1 hour later it appeared to be increasing its movements and even flexed its tail a few times but then movement decreased again and it actually died.
      My tank parameters have been stable the whole time my shrimp have been in there, and I was wracking my brain trying to work out what could possibly have happened. Tonight I found about 10 tiny hydra in my tank and I am wondering if there is a possibility that the dead shrimp could have been stung by a hydra? Especially if she had just moulted? She may have been the one that lost the eggs, but there is another shrimp with similar markings that I have seen wandering around with no saddle, and as all my females have been either berried or saddled the last week or so, I thought that that one was probably the female that shed her eggs. There were some other moults as well though.
      My tank parameters are:
      Ammonia and Nitrite: 0
      Nitrate: 5-10ppm (this is what they are constantly, and I struggle to tell the two apart, if anything the colour was a little lighter)
      Temp: 22 celsius
      Ph: 7.2
      Gh: 8
      Kh: 3
      TDS: 210
      Phosphate: 0.25
      I use a thermometer, TDS and a Ph metre, salifert phosphate test kit and API liquid test kits for everything else. 
      I have been doing about 20% water changes once a week and slow drip the freshwater in. I use tap water (and this is what the shrimp were raised in) treated with prime. I have plants, driftwood, dragon stone, Indian almond leaf and a small piece of cuttlebone. These things have all been consistent since the beginning (I added the cuttle bone after cycling to slightly increase my Ph and its been very stable since. I use LCA shrimp safe all-in-one fertiliser at about .75 of the recommended low light dose twice per week, Seachem advance, and 1/8tsp LCA potassium sulphate added at water change. I was due to change water today, so I do not think it is that. All the other shrimp seem happy and normal. I did rearrange the tank about 2 weeks ago and got rid of some Vals that were spreading everywhere and looking scraggly and added a couple of new plants. There has been a bladder snail boom over the last week or so and brown dust and a little green spot algae on the glass.  I have been having issues with getting the plants to grow nicely, but there is still a decent amount of growth. 
      I should also mention that I get chemical triggered migraines and so there are no spray chemicals of any kind in the house, and am extremely careful of scented products and any chemical use, so I don't think anything could have gotten into the tank. I have kept frogs (who are very sensitive to chemicals) for 8 years with no mishaps.
      In good news, my first shrimplets were born today, I have seen at least two :), so it has been a roller coaster! I have some LCA Planaria fix as I found one hydra (bigger than the current ones) just before adding my shrimp. However, after removing that one I could not find any trace of more despite daily careful checking, so I held off on treating. Would it be ok to use that now? I can't seem to find what the actual ingredients are. I am worried about hurting the shrimplets and the berried shrimp, but obviously hydra are a danger to them as well. Please help :). 
      I think I put in all the necessary info, sorry for the long post, thanks for sticking with it if you kept reading :).
    • Patrick Gagnon
      By Patrick Gagnon
      I recently put in an order for 12 blue dream and 12 cherry shrimp. The shipping was delayed, Harrisburg PA distribution is terrible. Took over 9 days for them to arrive. 0 DOA. Nice! Anyway I've had them now for I'd say 2 weeks. One already is pregnant! And I recently found a guest staying. I have copepods all over, I heard they are fine. I'm not sure what this is. Looks to have antennas, like a snail or something.

    • Adam Bomb
      By Adam Bomb
      Hello everyone! 
      My area of Michigan (48065) seems to be a black hole for shrimp enthusiasts, and my hope was to uncover folks I can buy shrimp (and hopefully moss) from locally. Since the pandemic has paused all face-to-face meetings for local clubs until further notice, it's been rough (and I can't imagine paying online retail ridiculous prices for shipped shrimp)!
      Since we only have the "City" field (for location) on profiles, is there a better way to find local people? I'd love any help you can offer. 
  • Join Our Community!

    Register today, ask questions and share your shrimp and fish tank experiences with us!

  • Must Read SKF Articles

  • Posts

    • jayc
      @fred-koi, great photos. But sorry to hear you have issues with your shrimp. What shrimp is this?  It's showing signs of a bacterial infection. Are these brownish spots circled in red normally there?   How long have you had these shrimp? Bought recently? What is your water parameters like? Temperature too, please. Bacteria do better in warmer water, so make sure your tank is cooled.   Separate any shrimp that are showing signs like this shrimp - inflamed mandibles, and brown spots. If you are brave enough to want to further treat these shrimp, have a look at the treatments for "Rust Disease" in the Disease and Diagnosis thread. No guarantee we will save this shrimp, but you can give it a go.   
    • fred-koi
      Hello, I have been experiencing a mortality problem for several months. I realize that there is a problem on the mandibles the shrimp is weak eats little then the shrimp dies. Do you have an idea ? THANK YOU
    • Avctasi
      Thank you both for your help, my newer tank that doesn’t have anything does have stratum and is heavily planted (some carpet plants like Monte Carlo, anubis, java ferns), parameters are good the only issue is the temp change.  My other tank where they are housed currently has sand, river stone pebbles, and a bunch of assorted plants (java moss, cabomba, ludwigs etc)  I haven’t thought of doing tiger shrimps but I may go into that route instead if this doesn’t work for crystals. Thank you guys again!  
    • sdlTBfanUK
      This is 'INSANE' and what happens when you get carried away in this hobby! PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR  PSYCHIATRIST FIRST! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKH1ABcN6-g I would not want his electricity or water bills, let alone all the cost of the equipment.  
    • sdlTBfanUK
      Putting the crystal shrimp in with neocaridina (cherr) means the setup will benefit one type more than the other and it looks like the tank is better suited to neocaridina. Neocaridina are more robust anyway, caridina are a lot more sensitive and therefore harder to keep. The parameters quoted are definitely off for caridina and better suited to the neocariidina! I'm sure that that is the reason for the deaths. You shouldn't need a heater if the house sits arount 74F (and it is unlikely to get so cold that it would kill your shrimp, especially with the other heat sources in the room) and the crystals would be ok at that sort of temperature, though the 80F is getting a bit warm for them, whereas neocaridina would be less affected by that higher temperature. Of course you also need to bear in mind how hot it will get during a really hot spell as even if they are doing well normally, if you even get a few days of over 80+ (in the aquarium though, not necessarily room temperature) that could wipe them out. You could try tiger shrimps as they are almost as tough and robust as cherry shrimps and require similar water parameters, and give a bit of variety? I'm not sure that I would try the caridina in your position due to the difficulty of keeping them and the extra costs involved, when it probably won't work?  
  • Create New...